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World's Best Places to Visit

To help you choose where to go on your next vacation, U.S. News pulled together a list of popular destinations based on the recommendations of trusted travel experts and used the opinions of thousands of travelers to narrow the scope. Our list of the "World's Best Places to Visit" represents our readers' favorite vacation spots, which range from big cities, such as Paris and New York, to beach getaways like Maui and Puerto Rico. We hope these recommendations can help point you toward your next vacation destination. Please vote for your favorite places below to help us determine next year's best places to visit.

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Why Go: Year after year, the magnetic City of Lights draws travelers to its Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame. But what keeps travelers enchanted is Paris' alluring cafes, vibrant markets and trendy shopping districts. And we can't discount Paris' je ne sais quoi charm that's unexplainable but also unmistakeable. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Paris

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Why Go: Renowned for its legendary fútbol team, Barcelona boasts much more than athletic talent. Touring the city is a feast for the eyes: Visitors walk past medieval architecture in the Barri Gòtic and Gaudi's innovative creations at Parc Güell and the Sagrada Familia. Plus, Las Ramblas buzzes at all hours. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Barcelona

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Why Go: London is a world unto itself. With eclectic neighborhoods and a mix of historical landmarks and modern-day attractions, the city can keep you occupied for days (if not years). That said, you should visit the Tower of London and the British Museum. If you have extra time, explore Portobello Road and Borough Market. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in London

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Why Go: Maui — one of the most beloved of all the Hawaiian Islands — lives up to its superlatives with exotic beaches (like Kaihalulu), palatial resorts (like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea) and lush terrain (as seen in the Iao Valley State Park). Plus, superb restaurants and historic sites abound. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui

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Why Go: New York City hosts infinite urban adventures. Wander through Central Park or tour the exhibits at the Met. Afterward, catch a Broadway show or peruse SoHo's stylish boutiques. And at night, sit down at a trendy restaurant or admire Manhattan's glittering skyscrapers from the top of the Empire State Building. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in New York City

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Why Go: Gourmet eateries, funky boutiques and laid-back vibes are just some of San Fran's charms. Areas like Nob Hill and The Castro offer unique experiences for every traveler. Famed spots, like Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz, are must-see attractions, too. And, of course, the city's crowning architectural achievement — the Golden Gate Bridge — is unforgettable. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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Why Go: Pick a vacation experience you're looking for, and Puerto Rico can oblige. To meander along cobbled streets and admire historic sites like El Morro, explore Old San Juan. Prefer miles of soft, white sand? Consider the bioluminescent bays of Culebra and Vieques. Seeking a vibrant night scene? Visit the Isla Verde or Santurce neighborhoods of San Juan. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Puerto Rico

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Why Go: This world-class metropolis offers more than just a dizzying array of landmarks (e.g., the opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge). Sydney features a host of beaches (Coogee and Bondi, for starters) that draw locals and tourists alike. Also, in its rivalry with Melbourne, Sydney wins the weather battle with its warm, sunny climate. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Sydney

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Why Go: The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a taste of home (non-roaming cellphones, U.S. dollars and no language barrier), as well as a varied international vacation (lively Carnival season, reggae music and clear Caribbean waters). For optimal rates and weather conditions, visit in late spring or early summer. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in U.S. Virgin Islands

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Why Go: Vancouver may not be as grand as New York City or as historic as Montreal, but why this Canadian city caught the attention of the International Olympic Committee is no mystery. The city bursts with parks, galleries and outdoor activities. Kayak in English Bay before taking in the scenery at Stanley Park.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Vancouver

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Why Go: With its dazzling beaches and soothing samba rhythms, Rio jockeys with Buenos Aires and São Paulo as South America's hottest destination — and not just with its temperatures. The famous Christ the Redeemer statue presides over Copacabana Beach. And you'll be hard-pressed to find a more lively event than Rio's Carnival. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

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Why Go: From swimming in Lake Zurich in the summer to skiing in the nearby Alps in the winter, Zurich attracts visitors year-round. Delectable pastry shops abound, as do museums, historic churches and upscale shops in Bahnofstrasse. For fun, locals hit up the bars and clubs of edgy Zurich West. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Zurich

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Why Go: Renowned for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, this Scottish city impresses visitors with its historic sites along the Royal Mile and its casual pub culture. While you're here, don't miss Edinburgh Castle or Holyroodhouse Palace for a glimpse of the royal lifestyle. And you can't miss the spectacular views from Arthur's Seat. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Edinburgh

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Why Go: Here, it's as if Paris migrated to North America. Travelers adore the city's quaint cafes, bustling marketplaces and old-world architecture. To truly appreciate the city's majesty, visit St. Joseph's Oratory, next to Mont-Royal. This immense basilica crowns the skyline and provides stunning views. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Montreal

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Why Go: Over the past couple of decades, Prague has transitioned from a backpacker secret to a flourishing Eastern European capital. As you wind through narrow streets, you'll admire iconic landmarks such as the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral. After you've soaked up the scenery, save some time for enjoying local pilsners on a bar crawl. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Prague

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Why Go: If you have to choose one island to visit in Greece, it's easy to make a case for Crete. Its diverse landscape features everything from ancient ruins to gorgeous beaches, and you can spend a day doing anything from shopping in Agios Nikolaos to hiking the Samaria Gorge. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Crete

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Why Go: It's hard not to find yourself enchanted by this dreamy, six-mile stretch of paradise: Lush jungles extend into sky high volcanoes and shimmering sands stretch into upscale resorts. Carve out some time for hiking Mount Otemanu, observing aquatic life at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium or simply relaxing on the beach. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Bora Bora

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Why Go: One of the most-visited cities in the U.S., our nation's capital houses a trove of postcard-worthy monuments. The White House and the Lincoln Memorial are here, as well as a variety of walkable neighborhoods. Plus, budget-minded travelers can take advantage of free attractions, like the Smithsonian museums. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Washington D.C.

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Why Go: Budapest is a sure standout for any trip to Central and Eastern Europe. The city caters to a wide range of traveler types and budgets. And Budapest will keep you occupied with its thermal baths, mellow coffeehouses, riotous nightlife and world-class museums. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Budapest

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Why Go: The simple mention of "the Maldives" conjures images of cerulean waters and soft sands. This enchanting collection of more than a thousand islands boasts palatial resorts and pristine beachesthe stuff of dreams. Its allures are difficult to even comprehend without being there. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maldives

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Why Go: It may have taken an international soccer tournament to garner the world's attention, but now that Cape Town has the spotlight, there's no letting go. Kick-start your day by climbing Table Mountain. Afterward, sunbathe along Clifton Beach's khaki-colored sands or tour the vineyards of the Constantia Valley. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Town

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Why Go: The Bahamas is made up of so many islands that it's hard to mash them all into one recommendation. But that's also part of their appeal. Airfare and hotel rates are reasonable throughout the year, but you'll get the best deals and have less crowds if you plan your visit for the summer or early fall. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Bahamas

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Why Go: America's playground offers plenty of entertainment day or night. Neon-lit casinos, like the Bellagio and Caesar's Palace, beckon to travelers with fascinating shows and sprawling game floors. But these mega-resorts offer guests more than just gaming. Spas, pools, luxury hotel rooms, elite clubs and exotic restaurants are now part of the allure. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Las Vegas

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Why Go: The City of Angels needs no introduction. Take your pick from star-gazing along Sunset Bouvevard, strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame and perusing the upscale stores lining Rodeo Drive. Or, if you came to take advantage of L.A.'s year-round sunshine, head to Santa Monica Pier and Beach. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Los Angeles

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Why Go: With world-class attractions like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square — that showcase China's past and present, Beijing beckons to history buffs, culture hounds and urbanites alike. Plus, the jaw-dropping Great Wall of China stands just north of the city, making Beijing a world-traveler must. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Beijing

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